Simulator not a laughing matter

Oct. 15, 2013 @ 04:01 AM

At first blush, it may seem slightly humorous or even downright funny.

But, it’s methods and experience teach a valuable lesson that reaches beyond joking.

On Thursday, the North Carolina Highway Patrol, in partnership with the United Way Youth Council, is bringing its impaired driving simulation course to Spindale.

What can be construed as humorous is the fact that simulation participants wear special goggles as they drive a golf cart through a pattern of traffic cones.

Pointing and giggling aside, the course teaches the real-world experience of driving under the influence of alcohol.

It’s intent is real because the consequences of driving while impaired is real.

We all know, or can find, statistics related to drunk driving accidents and fatalities on North Carolina roadways. What the North Carolina Highway Patrol does is bring that to a real experience.

Thursday also brings attention to another rising problem in our society.

The thought that it’s ok for underaged children to drink illegally if they are provided the alcohol by someone of age.

If you aren’t familiar with state law, here’s a refresher course.

It is unlawful for someone of age to provide alcohol to someone who is underage. No ifs, ands or buts about it.

It doesn’t matter if there is a party at an adult’s home and those adults provide alcohol to children attending because they feel it is a safe environment.

It is still against the law.

That is why the United Way’s Community Engagement Team has offered pledge cards for people to sign stating they will not serve alcohol to anyone underage and store all medications securely.

While it may be easy to put your name down on a card stating you won’t do it, the proof is in the pudding, meaning you actually practice what you pledge to preach.

As adults, we have to bear responsibility to keep our children safe.

This includes not providing alcohol to those who shouldn’t have it.

As a parent, you may feel that providing alcohol at a party is a good thing because “they are going to do it anyway” and you believe you are doing so in a controlled environment.

However, Suzanne Porter, CET coordinator, said it best when she suggested the outlying effects of teenage alcohol use goes beyond that. She suggested we don’t take into account the effects alcohol has on the developing brains of our children.

You want to see the effects, come to Spindale on Thursday and see for yourself.

It may be funny to watch others take their turn in a golf cart with obnoxious goggles on but remember the effects are real.

By Matthew Clark, for the Editorial Board


The Daily Courier Editorial Board consists of community members Jerry Brewer, Kyle Bingham, Tom Padgett and Cliff Strassenburg as well as Editor Matthew Clark.